English Premiership

Klopp calm over Sterling's Liverpool reunion

2015-11-20 09:45
Raheem Sterling will wear the number 7 jersey at City (mcfc.co.uk)

London - Manchester City's Raheem Sterling will be one of several players facing a former club when Liverpool visit on Saturday, but Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has played down the significance of the reunion.

Sterling, 20, felt the ire of Liverpool's supporters after rejecting a contract offer from the club at the end of last season and subsequently joined City in a deal that could be worth up to £49m.

The England forward's conduct was criticised by Liverpool greats including Steven Gerrard and Graeme Souness and he can expect a hostile reception from the away fans at the Etihad Stadium, but Klopp said it will be nothing that has not happened inside a football ground before.

"That's football. It's normal in football that former players play against their old club or whatever," the German told his pre-game press conference.

"It's absolutely normal and nothing special. I don't know how many friends Raheem had here or has here.

"He played here for a long time, had a good time here. I've heard no bad words about him. Good player, good boy, so (let's be) friendly, shake hands, then it's football."

Liverpool drew the first three games of Klopp's reign before reeling off three successive wins, including an impressive 3-1 victory away to defending champions Chelsea on the last day in October.

But they lost 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace in their last league game before the international break and go into the weekend seven points off the Champions League places in 10th place.

The consensus over the campaign's opening weeks was that City were the division's outstanding team as Manuel Pellegrini's team won their first five matches without conceding a goal.

But their level has dipped since then as injuries have taken a toll and they have won only three of their last seven league matches, culminating in a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa on their last outing.

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